House of Earth

Woody Guthrie, edited and with an intro. by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp. Harper, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-224839-8
Guthrie’s multifaceted legacy lives on (and combines beautifully with his affecting 1930 autobiography Bound for Glory) with this posthumous Texas plains novel set during the Dust Bowl era. The story is prefaced in a long-winded introduction by Brinkley, a media historian, and Depp, who polished the rough manuscript. Spearheading this tale of woe is Tike and Ella May Hamlin, a hardworking farmer and his pregnant wife, both subsisting in a rickety shack on land prized by a sharecropper. Tike dreams of building an adobe home to circumvent the use of pricey lumber and avoid the bank. The couple’s interactions, including graphic, extended erotic scenes, form the crux of a highly resonant, symbolic novel rife with themes of nature’s wrath, the misery of poverty, and the proletarian’s struggle against the churning machines of commerce. With dialogue rich in “hillbilly” vernacular and a story steeped in folk traditions, Guthrie’s drought-burdened, dust-blown landscape swirls with life. The book is finely supplemented with a biographical time line, companion discography, and artwork licensed by the Woody Guthrie Archives. His heritage as folksinger, artist, and observer of West Texas strife lives on through these distinct pages infused with the author’s wit, personality, and dedication to Americana. (Feb. 5)
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 02/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-233322-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-226302-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-06-224841-1
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-0-06-224840-4
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